An important word from Dutch Sheets' "Give Him 15" prayer page:
It seems appropriate to quote from some of America’s history. Sometimes we “move on” too quickly. The following prayers and quotes are from some of America’s Founders and Presidents.
The following prayer was “adapted from Washington’s Circular Letter to the States, which he wrote on June 8, 1783, as the commander in chief, at his headquarters in Newburgh, New York. This circular was directed to the governors and states of the new nation. His reference to them has been replaced by the words ‘the United States.’ Otherwise, the words and the spellings are those of General George Washington of the Continental Army.”
“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have the United States in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Devine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation. Amen.”(1)
On June 28, 1787, when our framers were struggling to agree on a suitable Constitution, Benjamin Franklin - considered one of the least spiritual of the Founders - made the following statement. His appeal began the practice of opening sessions of Congress with prayer:
“The small progress we have made after four or five weeks of close attendance & continual reasonings with each other -- our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics, which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed the Modern States all around Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
“In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine Protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence, we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance?
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without [H]is notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without [H]is aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without [H]is concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
“I, therefore, beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.” (2)
Abraham Lincoln wrote the following proclamation to Americans on March 30, 1863:
“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation:
“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord:
“And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
“Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
“All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.” (3)
In 1911, the year before he was elected president, Woodrow Wilson assured the listeners that he was right with the Lord, and said:
"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness, which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask of every man and woman in this audience that from this night on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great book of revelations -- that if they would see America free and pure they will make their own spirits free and pure by this baptism of the Holy Scripture." (4)
On one of his famous radio addresses, FDR said the following:
"No greater thing could come to our land today than a revival of the spirit of religion -- a revival that would sweep through the homes of the nation and stir the hearts of men and women of all faiths to a reassertion of their belief in God and their dedication to His will for themselves and for their world. I doubt if there is any problem -- social, political, or economic -- that would not melt away before the fire of such a spiritual awakening." (5)
And finally, President Harry Truman, in a 1950 speech before a conference on law enforcement, said:
"THE FUNDAMENTAL basis of this nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, Isaiah, and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days.
"If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state." (6) Selah - pause and think about that one!
So much for the revisionist attempts to steal our Christian heritage. It is there, and it will remain. Put yourself in the storyline, agree with these leaders - help create the synergy of the ages, and appeal to heaven. It still works.
Pray with me:
Father, this week during which America will honor a National Day of Prayer, we look back at our beginning and thank You. Thank You for righteous women and men who believed Your Word, honored the gospel of Christ, and realized that unless You built America, they - and we - labored in vain. Though their words have been dishonestly and shamefully hidden, they are on record and alive in Heaven. We honor these words, agree with them, and declare them over America today.
You told Jeremiah his words, given to him by You, would “pluck up…break down…destroy…overthrow…build and plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). Surely our Spirit-led words, authorized by Jesus, can do the same. You said Your Words are Spirit and life (John 6:63), a spiritual sword (Ephesians 6:17), and seeds that birth and bear fruit (Mark 4:14; 1 Peter 1:23). Therefore…
We boldly decree today: America was birthed by God for His purposes, those purposes are alive and well, and America shall be saved!
2. ranklin, Benjamin. “Constitutional Convention Address on Prayer.” June 28, 1787. Philadelphia, PA.